College Football Preview: Leffew brothers can do more than just play football

August 18, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

Brothers Bobby and Travis Leffew have developed more than just their football skills since arriving at the University of Louisville.

The former Boyle County players have each become starting linemen for the Cardinals - Travis at offensive tackle and Bobby in the defensive line. However, they have also become skilled enough in the kitchen that they seldom eat at the team's training table. Instead, they do their own cooking at the house where Bobby's wife, Kyla, also lives.

"I usually do most of the cooking," said Bobby, a senior. "I always liked helping Mom with something in the kitchen and picked up a little bit about cooking. Even today I'll watch the Food Channel (Network). I love all that stuff. I wish I could cook some of that stuff they have on TV, but I'm not that good."

Travis, a junior, thinks his cooking is just fine.

"Bobby does the big meals like pork chops, steaks and all that. I cook the tacos and easy stuff," Travis said. "We eat food that most college kids don't get to eat, especially if they are playing football. We cook the stuff that Mom cooked for us when we were growing up.


"Mom had shown me how to cook, but once I got to Louisville Bobby showed me a few other things. He's a chef himself. He experiments a lot, but all his food is good."

Bobby says pleasing his brother is not that difficult.

"I can cook a lot of things. I like to fix a combination of a lot of things and I keep trying to mix it up so we have something different," Bobby said. "But Travis has to have his macaroni. He's a big macaroni fan. Everything has to have macaroni. As long as I cook something with macaroni, he's going to be satisfied."

They've lived in a house off campus for four years

The Leffews have lived together in a house off campus for four years. When Bobby recently got married to the former Kyla Neal, she moved into the same house.

"It's really not much different being married," Bobby said. "We are gone at the same times and don't get to see each other a lot. Before football started she was always ready to go to bed a lot earlier than me because she had to get up. But I've basically been married since my freshman year. We have been dating for so long that getting married was really not any big change for me. I'm enjoying married life and I think Travis kind of likes having her around the house, too."

The brothers not only cooked - they had dinner ready each night when Kyla got home from work - but they also continued to be in charge of cleaning the house this summer.

"I'll cook and she will do the dishes, but she worked and we didn't have much to do, so we kept the house and yard straightened up," Bobby said.

Kyla is a nuclear medicine technologist at Jewish Hospital in Louisville.

"She has tried to explain to me tons of times exactly what she does and I still don't know," Bobby said. "But she has a nice job and really likes it."

The brothers have grown to feel the same way about the big city, even though it has been a major adjustment after growing up in Boyle County.

"I was never into city life. I was born on the farm and used to living in the country," Travis said. "It's still different in Louisville. I prefer the farm, but I've also grown to like Louisville. Me and Bobby go out and play paint ball or race go-carts. There is stuff to do when we don't want to just stay around the house and grill or clean."

Travis says the traffic is the hardest part of living in Louisville.

"It's hard to get around. Even though everybody says they have (road) signs everywhere, it's still confusing to me even now," Travis said. "Big towns are just hard to adjust to when you come from a small town. I've grown to like it here, but once it is all said and done, I will be back in the country living. I am still a country boy."

This season, though, the Leffews are key members of a team that is ranked in the top 25 in most preseason polls, will play on national TV five times and is considered the favorite to win the Conference-USA championship.

"Having people say nice stuff or reading flattering magazine articles is great, but you can't let it flatter you too much or it will hurt your game," Travis said. "I am not going to pay attention to what people say. Anybody can put something on the Internet or in a magazine. We still have to show we can play."

Bobby Lefew has been plagued with minor injuries

That's especially true for Bobby, who was held out of spring practice after undergoing off-season knee surgery. He's been plagued with minor injuries, including one that kept him out of the Kentucky game last year. He still had 37 tackles, including seven for losses, last year.

"I am feeling the best I have in a long time," Bobby said. "This is the last time for me to really show what I can do. Maybe I'll get a shot at the (National Football) league if all goes well this year.

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